FCC Seeks Comment on Access to Spectrum Inventory

Posted by CommLaw | Mar 11, 2024 | 0 Comments

The FCC is seeking public comment on ways to facilitate access to spectrum in light of the lapse, effective March 9, 2023, of its authority to utilize auctions to issue spectrum licenses. Comments are due April 8, 2024, and reply comments are due April 22, 2024.

Specifically, in a March 7, 2024 Public Notice the FCC asks how it could use its current statutory authority to provide access to its inventory of currently unassigned spectrum in bands previously licensed for wireless services through auctions (referred to as “Inventory Spectrum”). Inventory Spectrum includes exclusive-use, geographic area-based licenses capable of supporting broadband services (600 MHz, 700 MHz, 800 MHz Cellular, AWS-3, PCS, BRS, MVDDS) and narrowband services (220 MHz, VHF/UHF Paging, 800 MHz SMR). These licenses previously were made available via auction but either were not acquired or were returned to the FCC after issuance.


The Public Notice seeks comment on three broad approaches the FCC could use to resolve mutually exclusive applications for, and authorize access to, Inventory Spectrum: 

(1) Dynamic spectrum sharing techniques (such as those used in the Citizens Broadband Radio Service in the 3.5 GHz band and unlicensed use in portions of the 6 GHz band).

(2) Non-exclusive site-based licensing (for example, applicants would seek individual, non-exclusive authorizations and co-existence among licenses would be achieved through a spectrum coordinator or licensee-to-licensee coordination).

(3) Leasing spectrum inventory licenses. 

For each possible approach, and for any alternative proposed by commenters, the FCC asks:

  • What are the potential benefits and drawbacks?
  • What framework or guidelines could the FCC provide to ensure robust and efficient spectrum use, ensure a level playing field, prevent harmful interference, and promote co-existence among spectrum users?
  • To the extent an approach results in a change in spectrum use or in the service or technical rules for the spectrum, how should potential co-channel and adjacent band interference issues be addressed?
  • Is the approach more appropriate for use in certain spectrum bands?
  • For what period of time should access be allowed?
  • How should the FCC address issues related to mutually exclusive applications, including its statutory authority to "use engineering solutions, negotiation, threshold qualifications, service regulations, and other means in order to avoid mutual exclusivity"?
  • How might the approach impact the FCC's Mobile Spectrum Holdings policies?

The Public Notice notes that access to Inventory Spectrum already is, and will remain, available via Special Temporary Authority, and asks if the FCC should adopt changes to STA during the period of lapsed auction authority.

About the Author


There are no comments for this post. Be the first and Add your Comment below.

Leave a Comment